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Gadget of the Week – Nintendo DSi

On April 5, Nintendo released the DSi, the third iteration of its best-selling portable video gaming system after the original DS and the DS Lite.

Along with the much-publicized photo and music-editing features, there are numerous design changes that will catch the eye of existing DS users. Although overall the DSi is slightly smaller, the screens are slightly bigger and brighter than the DS Lite. The power button has been moved and now doubles as a reset button. When turned on, there is also a notable difference in the interface, which has been completely reworked and is much easier to use.

Once of the biggest differences in gameplay is that the DSi no longer has a slot for Gameboy Advance games. If you're still playing your GBA games a lot, this is probably a major downside, but if you're someone who hasn't used your DS for GBA games in a while, it's probably not a big deal. There is, however, a slot for an SD card to store more data.

The DSi comes with customized wi-fi service, which you can use to download games. There’s also a built-in web browser, although its functionality lags far behind the iPhone or other smartphones. The console now also supports firmware updates, which the original DS or DS Lite didn’t do.

As far as picture-taking goes, the DSi is not trying to be an “expert” camera. Its resolution is sufficient for Facebook but hardly for serious portraits. There are two cameras – one pointing at the user when the system is open, one facing away – which let people take photos and manipulate them with 10 built-in "lenses". The real fun comes in the DSi’s ability to distort the pictures – superimpose faces, add funny sunglasses or a mustache to a picture. This is not professional photo-editing but it will provide kids – and adults – with hours of entertainment.

The Nintendo DSi Sound application lets people put their own spin on their music with the ability to play and manipulate AAC sound files accessed from an SD card. You can play your own voice-overs on top of real digital audio tracks or add drums or hand claps to the beat of your favorite songs. Again, this is amateur sound-editing, meant for having fun on-the-go rather than producing professional clips.

The DSi has built-in speakers or you can just plug in headphones and use it as a regular personal music player. (It can access songs copied from an iTunes folder to a digital media card.) Nintendo has stated that in the future there will be DS games that utilize the DSi's picture and sound capabilities.

Nintendo has also launched the DSi Shop, a new online storefront where users can redeem Nintendo DSi Points to download an ever-growing inventory of games and applications. As an incentive to get people connected and enjoying the online content, consumers who buy a Nintendo DSi system and connect it to the Nintendo DSi
Shop by Oct. 5, 2009, will automatically receive 1,000 Nintendo DSi Points.

Although the DS Lite owners might think twice about rushing out for the upgrade, the DSi is a huge leap forward over the original DS and keeps Nintendo well ahead of Sony in the handheld gaming market.

The Nintendo DSi features limited parental controls that let adults manage the content that their children can access. It’s available in the United States in blue or black at an MSRP of $169.99.

Comment by *^*, posted 1/20/2010, 5:10 PM:

yeah i just got my dsi on july 31 2009 and it is is a-w-s-o-m-e !!! i Love it!
Comment by Tony, posted 7/1/2009, 6:37 PM:

I have had my dsi for a while and i love it.For email and messenger i use m.yahoo.com.if you have a yahoo it is awesome.

ps: i am on it right now
Comment by angelita, posted 5/23/2009, 1:34 AM:

hi i just got my DSi on wednesday 4 my bday n it iz freakin awesome! but along w/ playing i've been trying 2 explore it espacailly the internet side and i was wondoring if u can access AIM through the DSi i haven't been able 2 do this nor find out if it is even possible
Comment by Aamir, posted 4/16/2009, 1:47 AM:

Hi, i am on my dsi right now,in bed reading about the dsi
and i just wanted to say can u plz make a soon update for java script & flash player thank you. Oh and the dsi is sooo good i got it tuesday and ive already gone on it every day so thank u nintendo and keep rying 2 beat sony
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